Monday, November 21, 2005

Another View

For the sake of archiving and presenting another persons interpretation of Drexciya I think it’s worth including the section on them included in an essay by Peter M Boenisch I found called “Make World”: Archaeology as Alienation in Contemporary Performance. Full text here.

"One of the most extraordinary and most influential instances of sonic fiction comes with the music of Detroit techno music pioneers Drexciya. Drexciya is a two man project - but actually it is more of a place, a virtuality, an entire alien universe. Over more than ten years of releasing their music, the duo has never unveiled neither their names nor their ‘real’ identity. Rather than re-presenting themselves as the (black) Detroit techno musicians they are, they suggest that their music is produced by mysterious aqua-men, who are seen only in paintings on their record covers and who, of course, communicate with us through their music. In the sleeve notes to their 1997 double CD The Quest, a collection of material previously released on vinyl, they describe Drexciyans as some marine species descended from ‘pregnant American-bound African slaves thrown overboard by the thousands during labour for being sick and disruptive cargo. Could it be possible for humans to breathe underwater? A foetus in its mother’s womb is certainly alive in an aquatic environment. Is it possible that they could have given birth at sea to babies that never needed air?” Consequently, Drexciyans are introduced as exactly these ‘water breathing, aquatically mutated descendants’ (ibid.). Drexciya, the band, thus create their own cultural mythology, they defamiliarize, they alienate history and cultural memory using performative sonic fiction. With each of their purely instrumental tunes, with each song title and record cover, they map out a cartography of the alien underwater worlds of the Drexciyan amphibians: Listeners are taken to “The Red Hills of Lardossa”, “Bubble Metropolis” and their newest lab, “Neptune’s Lair”. There, we encounter “Darthouven Fish Men”, “Mutant Gillmen”, and “dreaded Drexciya stingray and barracuda battalions”, and we learn about the sophisticated underwater nature and technology, about “Manta Rays” and “Polymono Plexusgel”. And we hear that Drexciyans are well prepared for war, with their advanced weapon arsenal of “Aquatic Bata Particles” and “Intensified Magnetrons” - the original magnetron, by the way, was the heart of the microwave radar sets which were used by the USAF in WW2.
Drexciya records resemble acoustic photo albums, and sonic special-effect movies. They create what Kraftwerk, the pioneers of contemporary electronic music, have termed “tone-films”. However, in downright contrast to similar mythologically informed cultural fiction, such as e.g. the Star Wars-movies, Drexciya avoid the perpetuation of traditional cultural strategies of representation. Taking instead the peculiar tactic of performative alienation to an extreme, Drexciya manage to break up the inherited chain of signification. They even create a certain freedom which is located at the same time within and yet without - or, more precisely, as the underwater world geographically suggests: underneath hegemonic discourse. Thus they manage to express and communicate something unspeakable, delving into areas which have been forgotten and suppressed by the hegemonic discourse of White and Western Cultural Memory. The performance of purely instrumental techno music becomes an extremely effective political tool, even a weapon."

Drexciya 3 'Molecular Enhancement' is on the way.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

interesting text, but i can't get what exactly "alienation" means, refusal from common history?

11:23 AM  

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